“Embarrassing Is an Understatement”: Stories From Steve Harvey's Sexist Nightmare Special
Yesterday, I wrote about a recent taping Steve Harvey held in Chicago for his daytime talk show. Harvey brought 2,000 men into a theatre for a special devoted to “What Men Really Think,” and things quickly, even predictably, turned sour. Men in the audience allegedly drowned out female speakers with catcalls and hurled slurs of all types at both women and men present.
The account of the taping came from three Chicago comedians who attended the event and then spoke out about their experiences. But to better flesh out what it was like to spend 10 hours trapped in a room with Steve Harvey and thousands of men exploding with rage and inadequacy, I asked for any attendees to write in with their perspectives.
I got about seven emails, ranging from “it was just as brutal or worse” to “Great Show Steve!!!” Here are those responses, which have only been edited to redact any identifying details.
This woman, who was one of roughly 150 sitting onstage, says that the show was designed so that the women “had no choice but to come off as nagging and crazy ‘bitches’.” She also alleges that women showing the most cleavage were placed near the front of the stage, which contributed to the catcalling:
I was at the taping myself as one of the 150 women on stage and let me tell you, it was just as brutal or worse being on that stage as a woman. Forget the part where they said we’d be served lunch and be out by 3pm ( we were there til 5pm with nothing to eat while the men at least got granola bars as a snack), but the fact that everything was so scripted by the producers, that the women had no choice but to come off as nagging and crazy “bitches”. I was asked by a producer friend to be one of the ladies asking Steve for advice, but after seeing the list of topics/questions to choose from - none of which would be questions of have in real life - I backed out because I got the feeling this was going to be a very sexist show, aimed to highlight how men really do think we’re all crazy, jealous, and irrational.
There was even one point where the women went “off script” when the topic of women wanting closure when a relationship ends, and the women on stage with me got understandingly frustrated with Steve Harvey and the 2,000 idiots out there who basically said we were crazy for expecting some sort of resolution. So much so, that several women had to be given microphones because they were just standing up and arguing and basically sticking up for ourselves. It was really embarrassing to have had to sit there as a lineup of “meat and prey” and listen to the men berate us whole Steve Harvey did his best to agree while sounding polite and gentlemanly. We saw right through that and in fact one girl got up and said to him something but along the lines of “if your wife were here, you know you wouldn’t be saying half the things you said”.
Embarrassing is an understatement. Sadly, I sat behind Steve most of the show so my face will be on stage forcibly laughing and applauding and cheering, when all I really wanted to do was get up, leave, and get myself some food - something the show couldn’t even be bothered to do.
Another thing that pissed me off... Dress code said “bright colors”. But the women with shortest dresses and most cleavage were separated from friends so they could be front row where the men can see... Then you wonder why we heard things like “I call yellow dress”. I’ve never been so happy to be wearing pants that allowed me to blend in somewhat.
If the idea to bring in 2,000 men that sample men everywhere was to get us to understand how they really think and feel, well now I worry for mankind... They really do suck! (Sorry Jordan, you’re cool!)
Thanks for this story. I really thought I was the only one who left there incredibly pissed off.
A now ex-fan of Harvey’s says that he was embarrassed to be in the audience because the catcalling was so loud you couldn’t even hear the women speak:
I read your article. And I thought it was spot on.
I was in the audience. And yes I thought it was absolutely awful. 2,000 men to 150 women was the number of people there with me. I was embarrassed to be in a crowd of those men. He spoke as if we all agreed with how he portrayed us. I did not. It was disgusting the way anytime a woman spoke, she got cat-called. You could barely hear anything any of the women said because of how loud the men were. It was truly awful.
Shows why Steve has been married 4 times. I will never look at him the same again. He truly acted like women are below men and that’s how it should be. It really was an uncomfortable thing to be a part of. I’m really glad your article is shedding light on this situation and episode.
Anytime a woman fought back and didn’t agree with an answer. He would put his arm around her and say, “you can’t change the answers, you can only accept them. I’m trying to teach you ladies what men are like and about. It’s your choice to learn and accept it or not.”
He lost a fan on last Sunday.
A man sitting in the balcony described the scene as “appalling,” and says that Harvey “almost encouraged” the catcalling. He also thinks the producers specifically sat white audience members on the floor of the theatre, where they would be seen by the cameras.
I read your article and I was at the taping. It was absolutely appalling at what some of the men in the audience were yelling out. It didn’t help when at the beginning of the show Steve Harvey said he wasn’t going to stop the catcalls and almost encouraged it. As far as diversity in the crowd, it was not diverse. Notice the photos that you have were all from the first floor. Me and my brother (we are both white) waited over 2 hours to get in and didn’t expect at all to be on the first floor orchestra level. However, we were. There were a lot of white people on the first floor. And I believe they did this because the cameras would surely be showing the men in the audience on the first floor the most. I’m not sure, but I can almost guarantee that the majority of people in the balconies were black people.
This man says the guy who told Harvey he was often too tired after work to have sex got heckled so badly that he’s not sure they can even show it on TV:
Article was SPOT on. Like legit Spot on. No idea how they can show the guy who doesnt want sex on TV it got bad!!!
This woman says that “some” of the original accounts were “accurate” but that the taping “wasn’t as bad” as it seemed. She blames men at the taping who “lacked home training,” and says that Harvey did apologize to the women for how the men were acting.
I was an attendee of the Steve Harvey taping, and while some of your article is accurate, it wasn’t as bad as your article made it out to be. There were 150 women on stage and yes, 2,000 men in the audience. With ANY large group, you can’t expect everyone to behave like a saint - some of the men lacked home training. Steve actually apologized to the women for their behavior. The taping was about 5 hours long, but the men were outside in a line that was three blocks long since before 7am. I personally didn’t hear any yelled profanities; no one in my immediate area felt harassed or threatened. The male audience WAS diverse, a mix of older and younger men of all ethnicities. In between tapes segments Steve cracked jokes, spoke to both the audience and the women’s group, and at the end, made a statement to the men about taking a chance in their lives and what’s he been through, and encouraged men to strengthen their faith in God. The show airs I believe next week when his season premiers. Was the taping excessively long? YES? Would I do it again? NO - my patience doesn’t allow it. But it was a fun experience and very interesting to say the least!
This man, who is possibly acting undercover as an employee of Steve Harvey’s, says that Harvey blamed the atmosphere on “8 or 9 assholes,” an assessment the reader agrees with.
My name is [redacted], and I too attended the taping this past Sunday.
Sadly I will admit that most of the things that your first source stated was true! Women were cat-called, and some maybe disrespected. However, Steve Harvey made a very valid point while addressing the 150 women on stage,
“Anytime you get 2000 men together, there is almost a certainty that you will have 8 or 9 assholes!”
This was the case! There were another 1,991 well dressed, well behaved men seated in that theatre, that showed nothing but respect for the staff, and women seated on that stage. These men were not screened, nor hand selected for this show. It was whoever showed up, and you can’t help but to possibly have a few idiots. I will say that it was constantly told to the audience to respect these women, and that’s what the vast majority of the men did!
Great Show Steve!!!
I think this guy was at a different show:
I just wanted to let you know that I was at the Steve Harvey taping near the front by the stage and can tell you a lot of what is in the article about what happen is not what happened at all.
No one was called a homophobic slur in the audience. Women were not cat-called. There was an idiot in the balcony the said “you’re crazy” a few times to a few women before the women were able to finish their question, but was shunned by the rest of the guys in the crowd. SteveHarvey even said that out of 2000 guys, you are bound to have 8 assholes.
For the most part, the day was a fun time, and not at the expense of the women or men (there were 150 women, by the way, not hundreds).
There were only 2 women that Skyped in a question, and they weren’t cat-called or booed either. Not everyone in the audience received a survey, and it wasn’t only what men thought, but the women were surveyed too and the men guessed their results as well during the taping.
I am a pretty respectful guy and most of the audience were respectful as well. It is bothersome to hear what some people are saying, when that wasn’t the case.
Although there was a delay in getting sandwiches to 2000 people, the staff did come by a pass out snacks. It wasn’t the staff’s fault. There was a delay by the vendor in getting the food to the theater. And that is NOT what Steve said he would fight someone about. Someone yelled out from the audience they wanted to fight Steve after Steve mentioned what they said was rude (that was about the time he told the audience that out of 2000 people, there are bound to be 8 assholes).
So maybe the taping of Steve Harvey’s “What Men Really Think” special was essentially that one scene from Game of Thrones, or maybe it was just a a dozen bad apples who need to be trained. Either way, it sounds terrible.
If you were there and would like to talk about your experience, please email me.
Update (4:50 p.m.) A spokeswoman for Harvey gave this statement about the show to the Chicago Tribune:
“The nature of the topic alone can elicit strong opinions from both men and women. While we always encourage a healthy debate, we do not condone or tolerate rude or disrespectful behavior towards our audience or any of our guests. We are very proud of the episodes that we produced and are confident that our national audience will find the conversation both insightful and entertaining,” a representative for the show said in a statement to the Tribune.
[image via Getty]